SJR 22: Opposing litigation that seeks to eliminate the Kenai, Kasilof, and Chitina sockeye salmon personal use dip net fisheries; and requesting the governor to re-examine the disproportional influence of the commercial fisheries industries on fisheries management in the state.
00 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22 01 Opposing litigation that seeks to eliminate the Kenai, Kasilof, and Chitina sockeye 02 salmon personal use dip net fisheries; and requesting the governor to re-examine the 03 disproportional influence of the commercial fisheries industries on fisheries 04 management in the state. 05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association is a group of nonresident and 07 resident commercial gill net fishermen in Cook Inlet; and 08 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association has filed a lawsuit against the 09 United States Secretary of Commerce requesting that the United States Department of 10 Commerce preempt state management of its salmon stocks in Cook Inlet; and 11 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association has filed a lawsuit against the 12 United States Secretary of Commerce claiming, among other things, that association's 13 nonresident members are discriminated against because they cannot participate in the 14 resident-only dip net fishery, thus requesting the court to declare that the state-authorized 15 resident-only salmon fisheries are unconstitutional and therefore preempted by federal law;
01 and 02 WHEREAS all five species of Pacific salmon are an integral part of Alaska's history, 03 heritage, and cultural identity, helping to meet both its economic and nutritional needs; and 04 WHEREAS the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 05 explicitly excludes state waters from the jurisdiction of the Act; and 06 WHEREAS the exclusive economic zone is closed to commercial fishing under the 07 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act unless specifically authorized 08 by the state; and 09 WHEREAS the Alaska Board of Fisheries has devoted an inordinate amount of time 10 to the extremely complex salmon management program in the Cook Inlet region in an attempt 11 to balance the interests of all stakeholders; and 12 WHEREAS the potential results of this lawsuit, if the plaintiff is successful, would 13 not only preempt state fisheries management but could result in a larger number of 14 nonresident dip net fishermen being allowed to fish, causing an even smaller allocation to the 15 commercial fisheries, thus conceivably further adversely affecting the members of the United 16 Cook Inlet Drift Association; and 17 WHEREAS the establishment of federal and state recognized commercial fisheries 18 limited entry programs have drastically limited the ability of residents to use efficient 19 commercial gear for taking subsistence and personal use salmon resources, which has resulted 20 in the establishment of less efficient methods, such as the dip net fisheries, for taking salmon 21 to meet Alaska's nutritional needs; and 22 WHEREAS members of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association are able to use their 23 exclusive limited entry permits to use efficient gear that is not available to the average 24 Alaskan for the purpose of taking salmon for personal use; and 25 WHEREAS members of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, including all 26 nonresidents, are allowed an unlimited bag limit, an unlimited possession limit, and an 27 unlimited annual limit under state law for salmon retained for personal use if taken during the 28 commercial fisheries, which is a luxury not afforded to Alaskans who do not possess a state 29 limited entry permit; and 30 WHEREAS both the federal government and the state recognize in law and place a 31 high priority on the importance of taking of wild resources for food; and
01 WHEREAS the State of Alaska restricts dip net salmon fisheries to Alaska residents; 02 and 03 WHEREAS, in 1984, a resident-only dip net fishery for Copper River red salmon 04 stocks was established in Chitina; and 05 WHEREAS in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 06 issued over 8,000 permits allowing Alaskans to dip net for salmon in Chitina; and 07 WHEREAS, in 1981, a dip net fishery for red salmon stocks was established at the 08 mouth of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers; and 09 WHEREAS in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 10 issued between 18,500 and 23,700 permits allowing Alaskans to dip net for salmon in the 11 Kenai and Kasilof Rivers; and 12 WHEREAS the Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculates that those dip net 13 fisheries provide an average of 14 fish for each household for those households that 14 participated in the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers dip net fisheries in 2006, 2007, 2008; and 15 WHEREAS there appears to be a growing groundswell of support within the 16 commercial fishing industries represented at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council 17 and state Board of Fisheries levels for a more dominant role in the regulatory process; and 18 WHEREAS the Constitution of the State of Alaska dictates that "The legislature shall 19 provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging 20 to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people," which clearly 21 means that the state's common property resources must benefit all Alaskans and not just a few 22 commercial fisherman; 23 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature hereby requests that the United 24 Cook Inlet Drift Association drop its lawsuit advocating federal preemption of Alaska's 25 salmon management in state waters in Cook Inlet and opposing the personal use of salmon by 26 Alaska residents; and be it 27 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature also requests Governor 28 Sarah Palin to direct the attorney general to oppose this lawsuit; and be it 29 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature also requests the 30 Governor, in cooperation with the legislature, to re-examine the inordinate and potentially 31 unfair, unethical, and disproportionate influence of the commercial fisheries industries on
01 fisheries management in Alaska. 02 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Gary F. Locke, United 03 States Secretary of Commerce; the Honorable Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska; the 04 Honorable Wayne Anthony Ross, Alaska Attorney General; and the Honorable Denby Lloyd, 05 Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game.